Chilly Chilli

As I write this a large proportion of the UK has ground to a halt due to a fluffy weather phenomenon called snow. We have about 10cm of snow here and it’s rapidly thickening with the current blizzard. Have to count ourself lucky. Just 15 miles north of us people are battling with waist height snow.People are panic buying bread and other ‘essentials’ in the supermarket, ahem flour, yeast & salt = make as much bread as you want. Good on the postman, milkman and coalman for getting through.

Key to cooking when snowed in is always having a storecupboard of basic ingredients. Tinned tomatoes, pasta, lentils, tinned beans, rice, tinned fruit, various dried herbs, stock cubes, bag of peas in the freezer, random veg, with cheese in the fridge along with the baking trinity of flour, sugar, butter can make many a meal. A quick search on websites like BBC Good Food and Delicious can turn random ingredients in to a delicious meal. Think Ready Steady Cook (RIP) without the annoying presenter. Previous Snow Day cooking has involved soup, focaccia and homemade Nutella.

As stunning this snow can look there is disadvantage of being freelance in this weather; when my work is cancelled I don’t get paid. I now have a job lot of gingerbread men ingredients. So if we run out of everything else we’ll live on gingerbread or Claire’s Ginger Cake or I’ll be flogging them to passing motorists. At least it’s not ingredients that are ready to perish. Spare a thought for Fi Bird who has a tonne of lettuces due to a cancelled class.

This lentil chilli changes every time it’s made as it determines what we have in. It’s a great standby storecupboard dinner and a way of using left over veg. Works well with both rice and couscous.

Lentil Chilli
based on Dinner Diary’s Lentil Ragu
Serves 4-6

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 red chilli, chopped (more if you like it hot)

300g lentils (I usuall do 1/2 red lentils and 1/2 puy lentils)

125ml red wine

1 tbsp tomato purée

250ml beef or veg stock

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

Splash of Worcestershire sauce


1 tin kidney beans

1) In a large saucepan sauté the onions in 1tbsp oil until soft. Add the garlic, chilli and tomato purée then fry for a couple of minutes.

2) Stir in the lentils then pour in the wine. Boil until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the remaining ingredients (apart from kidney beans) and simmer for 45-50 minutes until lentils have softened. Add the kidney beans and simmer for another 10 minutes.

About Jules

Freelance Food Geek who's passionate about food education. Lives with long-suffering Hubs and 3yo Little Baker (LB) not too far from Derby.

Posted on December 2, 2010, in lentils, onion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I must admit I have never tried making a non meat chilli. Sounds good. Hope the cake was nice too.

    • I find lentils work as a great meat substitute. As a general rule I just replace the mince with half the weight of lentils. So 600g mince = 300g lentils. They cake is delicious. Lovely and light.

  2. I usually make chilli con carne with veggie mince, but i might try adding lentils next time!
    Oh Ready Steady Cook, I used to watch that occasionally when I was a student!!

  3. in a household of 3 with 1 a confirmed carnivore and 1 veggie I tend to stick to quorn or soya mince so might struggle to get this past hubs but def one to keep in mind for future chilli nights

    • Hi Jules,

      Give it a go. The mixture of lentils helps to give it texture. I often add mushrooms too to add to the meaty texture for carnivore Hubs.

  4. This looks really tasty, I’ll be making it for sure. I need to up my lentil intake.

  5. Mmmmm… this does look marvellous. I need to make a really hot chilli very soon.

  6. This looks like the perfect thing to keep you warm in all the snow at the moment, although down in London we are get to have much snow, when compared to the rest of the country. Will just have to find another reason to make this delicious chilli :)

  7. Sounds just the thing for this weather. We had something very similar last night, but without the lentils. Next time will try it with lentils too. Yum

  8. It looks really good. I like having plenty of storecupboard ingredients to play with, great for this kind of weather!

    Another good website for getting ingredient inspiration is – the recipes don’t generally seem to be too waitrose ingredient linked, if you see what I mean.

  9. This sounds delicious :)

  10. Lentils in chilli sounds delicious! Our weather is quite as wintry yet, but I’d still like to have this for dinner tonight!

  11. Hay, love the redesign. Looks really good

  12. I love chili! Perfect for a cold night! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living’s Champion Chili Recipe Contest! It looks delicious!

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